From Cody Telep. Follow him on Twitter @codywt, email him at cody[AT]borderstan.com.
Representatives from the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) updated residents on the investigation into the May 10 assault in the 1400 block of W Street NW (see Police Seek Information in W Street NW Assault Case) at a meeting held Wednesday night at the Third District Headquarters. Councilmember Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) also attended the meeting and reported on efforts to increase public safety along the 14th Street NW corridor.
Lt. Detective Vendette Parker reported that detectives have interviewed several witnesses and individuals familiar with the case and that there is a person of interest being examined closely by MPD. There is not enough information yet to make this person a suspect, but detectives continue to vigorously investigate the case. Commander George Kucik told residents that the case is not at a dead end and that detectives are following up on leads.
Anyone with information on the case is asked to call Detective Michael Pepperman at 202-673-6918 or Detective Antoine Weston at 202-673-6918. There is a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to an arrest. Councilmember Graham asked if this reward could be increased, and while Crime Solvers provides a maximum reward of $1,000 in assault cases, Graham plans to contact Police Chief Cathy Lanier about potentially increasing the reward money in this particular instance.
Parker said detectives had canvassed the area and distributed over 100 flyers about the case to residents and business owners. The flyer includes two images of the suspect taken from surveillance cameras in the alley where the assault occurred; although, the images are blurry and Parker noted that the surveillance video has not been the primary tool used to identify a person of interest. The suspect’s description was originally incorrectly reported on flyers (and was subsequently also incorrectly reported in a post on the assault last week). The suspect is described as a 30- to 40- year-old black male, about 5’9” tall with gray hair in twists and light facial hair. He has a gold rim around one of his teeth.
The assault reportedly occurred when the victim confronted the suspect after observing him throw a beer can on the ground. When a meeting attendee asked Parker why detectives did not collect this beer can as evidence, she responded that the victim was disoriented at first and had to be re-interviewed about six to eight hours after the incident, so detectives were not initially aware of the beer can. She did note that detectives know what happened to the beer can, although she was not able to share that information.
At Graham’s request, Parker and Kucik agreed to provide an update as soon as any additional information on the assault case became available.
Graham reported that the joint roll call on 14th Street NW had been reinstated and would begin Friday (May 25) at 3:30pm at Fast Gourmet at the intersection of 14th Street and W Street NW, adjacent to where the assault occurred. The goal of the joint roll call is to better connect police and private security officers along the 14th Street corridor. Radios will be assigned to participants to improve communication flow among these groups and help enhance guardianship on the street. Graham also reported that three arrests had been made for serious offenses on the 1400 block of W Street NW since May 21.
W Street residents at the meeting expressed concerns about criminal activity occurring on the block, particularly late at night. Captain Andre Wright noted that crime on the block is down in the last 90 days compared to the 90 days before, but that foot patrols and segway patrols have increased after the assault. He also encouraged residents to call 911 whenever they observe suspicious activity so police can respond quickly.